Possession order for abandonment

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    Possession order for abandonment

    I'm new here so please be kind!. We have one property which we have rented out with no problem until the curren tenant and have now learned a lot!. We stupidly didn't protect deposit as she didn't pay in full and so despite 3 months rent arrears we couldn't use section 21 and have just issued a section 8. Our problems began when she lost most of her entitlement to housing benefit after her child was taken from her by social services. Her rent is 450 and and they were paying 195. Rent was paid directly to us after she failed to pay her housing benefit over and was therefore already a month behind before this began. Her housing benefit has since been suspended and will be closed on the 12th Nov as they suspect she isn't living at the property and we know it's too!. We have confirmed with neighbours that she hasn't lived there for months and done daily drive bys ourselves at various times of the day. She is merely collecting post and using the address to fraudulently claim benefit and avoid social services as we have been told she is living with her supposed ex partner and the child that was removed from her care. The gas and electric are on prepayment meters and we have today confirmed that the gas has not been topped up since April! And the electric since the 5th sept!. Both will have significant arrears now because of the standing charge. My question is if we have this proof she isn't living in the property can we change the locks when the section 8 date reaches on the 18th Nov? Will it be up to her to take us to court for an illegal eviction then prove she was living there with no or water heating or light or electric?. It seems so wron that we have to pay hundreds applying for a possession order wen we know the property is empty. She is playing a game to get priority housing from the council to continue to fiddle her benefits but will the council even help a single person with no kids that has purposely made themselves homeless? It is worth mentioning that she had refused us access to the flat (probably bcos she doesn't want is to confirm its empty!) so we are unable to inspect which is absolute madness. It is an upstairs flat so although she has told us she is living there with only her essentials we cannot gain entry for final proof. Any advice is greatly appreciated X

    Sorry I should have mentioned also that her tenancy expired in January X


      I don't think it would be a very good idea to just change the locks as the penalties for illegal eviction can be very severe! You should probably not rely on just a s8 notice when you go to court either as it is probably easy for her to defend. Your best bet is probably to refund the deposit in full and then serve a s21 notice and pursue it through the courts.

      In your situation I would be tempted to gather as much evidence of her fraud as possible and then present it to her along with a deed of surrender of the tenancy


        Sound advice

        Originally posted by DPT57 View Post
        I don't think it would be a very good idea to just change the locks as the penalties for illegal eviction can be very severe! You should probably not rely on just a s8 notice when you go to court either as it is probably easy for her to defend. Your best bet is probably to refund the deposit in full and then serve a s21 notice and pursue it through the courts.

        In your situation I would be tempted to gather as much evidence of her fraud as possible and then present it to her along with a deed of surrender of the tenancy


          Agreed, return the deposit in full and s21 notice.

          The court will award costs against the tenant if you have to go to court, so once the tenant no longer needs the address for benefits, it would be sensible for them to agree to surrender the property to you on 13th November.
          You won't have any chance of collecting the court costs, but there's no reason for the tenant to need your property after that.

          Personally, I wouldn't try anything formal (a deed of surrender would be perfect, but it's hard to persuade tenants to sign them).
          Get her to hand the keys back and confirm she's moving/moved out and accept that surrender.
          When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
          Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


            Thank you for replies. We did offer her 500 pound to vacate before we even paid solicitors to issue section 8 and she refused as she wanted significantly more!! I guess her benefits and an address for social services are worth more to her. Iv no doubt she is aware she can sue us for not securing her deposit and this is why she refused and she also knows it prevents us using a section 21. For a drug addict she is really quite clever!. I doubt she would contest the section 8 to be honest she's just going to drag it out as long as possible in the hope the council will eventually give her the address she needs. The system absolutely stinks. We aren't rich and rely on the rent to pay our current mortgage and the mortgage on the flat and she knows this (she was a friend of a friend when we let her move in). We have been nothing but fair, she didn't have money for a deposit and so paid over several months as extra rent when she moved in hence why we didn't even think of using a scheme, she also stopped paying at 400 instead of 450. She owes over 1600 pound now and will never be in a position to pay this in order to stop eviction she hasn't paid any rent on time in over a year (apart from the part housing benefit we received which was still 4 weeks in arrears). I know she is playing games as she sent a text denying getting the section 8 and promising she wanted it so had no reason to lie. We replied with a copy of her signature that she had actually signed for it!! And have heard nothing since. It is so frustrating when the law is on the side of a fraudulent vile human being who isn't even living at the property! Someone else in need could be housed while she plays these games X


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                Apologies I was just so desperate for help I began my essay. Lol x


                  Have you reported her to HB and Social Services?


                    We have reported her to both. Obviously social services couldn't tell us anything but said they would investigate so hopefully the child is safe at least.

                    Housing benefit suspended her money but as it was paid to us direct I don't think she was particularly bothered as its only us losing out! She hasn't been in contact with them and so they are closing her claim on the 12th Nov.

                    Data protection laws prevent them telling us anymore. It occured to me today that although they have suspended her housing benefit I suspect they haven't stopped her own benefit money which seems silly u would have thought she would have kicked off or stopped this nonsense if they had.

                    I'm going to ring benefit fraud tomorrow and report it if they haven't already stopped it. I stupidly thought the agencies would work together but maybe not.


                      Deposit scheme penalties

                      I have posted a seperate thread about the section 8 we have issued to evict tenant.

                      The tenant did not have the money to pay a deposit in advance 3 years ago when she moved in and we therefore agreed she would pay extra each month until it was paid.

                      She paid over about 5 months in varying amounts and only ever paid 400 instead of 450.

                      I know now that we were wrong and we should have secured her deposit in a scheme. Anyway, fast forward a year and she missed a months rent with various excuses. She then missed another month and claimed her housing benefit had stopped.

                      Investigations proved this to be a lie and so the DWP agreed we would receive future payments direct.

                      The tenant agreed we could use her deposit to cover one month of arrears and so she still owed a month.

                      Over the next year her housing benefit was significantly reduced and has now been cancelled for fraud as she is no longer living in the property although still pretending to do so.

                      We offered her 500 pound (100 more than her deposit) to move out without fuss, even though she owed more than 1200 rent at the time. She refused this and asked us to issue section 8 in order to gain a council property.

                      My other thread explains that she is not living in the property but using it as a means to claim benefit while she lives with her partner!. There have been no gas or electricity top ups for months.

                      Since starting eviction process she has asked for deposit scheme reference number even though she knows it's not in a scheme and had agreed to it being used for rent arrears.

                      My question is I know we are liable for a fine if she chooses to claim, she refused to take deposit back when offered so will this help us at all?. And can the texts we have confirming she was using it as rent be used?. If she is successful and we are fined the deposit plus X 3, can our fine be offset by her arrears?.

                      It would sicken me to have to pay her when she owes us so much.

                      We also have no way of knowing if the property has damage as she won't allow any access.

                      We are hoping the private landlord dept at the civic centre are going to help us evict on abandonment rather than waiting for a possession order.


                        I believe there is a new law regarding abandonment that removes the need for a court order.


                        BTW, in view of the short rent, I wonder if she ever built up a deposit at all?
                        To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.


                          Thank you so so much for that! I found it ridiculous that there was no legal framework and procedure other than to risk being accused of illegal eviction. The time frames are still quite high but if we run this alongside the section 8 we may have hope of changing the locks before the need for bailiffs X


                            That what we thought in respect of the deposit but it seems we were wrong and anything she did pay should have been protected.

                            If we wanted to be really bad, she paid it in by hand each time at my partners bank and i can 100% state she won't have receipts for the deposits or what they were for, so we could deny all knowledge. I wish we were that way inclined because she's playing us like a fiddle lol x


                              You did not put that information about the short rent in your previous thread. I would suggest that if the monthly payment never came to more than the basic rent, no deposit was paid at all.

                              FTA: In that case, there would be no reason not to issue a S21. (Really try not to take a S8 to court. They are a nightmare.) I suggest you dig out tenancy agreement, and hubby's bank statements, and work out if tenant ever did pay anything more than basic rent & arrears.
                              To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.


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